Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Non-Organic Cider Business

Cider is clearly growing too fast.  In this instantaneous era, entrepreneurs are trying to create a drink that reflects the experience of a specialized farmer and fermenter, and then trying to replicate the sales of a business that arose organically out of the craft and from a relationship with the consumer.

Cider, as the industry now defines it, is hallow shell of (1) entrepreneurs looking to capitalize on the next start-up craze and (2) opportunistic farmers trying to rebrand their tired operation to make it look like they were hip to cider all along.  Right now, the only safety net is the consumer.  It is up to you to recognize the real deal because the producers and the government are conspiring to sell you crap in sheep's clothing.

But let's not just pick on the "outside" entrepreneurs, let's also be critical of opportunistic farmers.
Pretend for a minute: Your grandfather got into the art supply business 70 years ago making paints.  back then, then there was a real market for it and he personally enjoyed working with artists too.  Now, you come along and you inherit this art supply company, does that make you an artist?  It didn't even make your grandfather and artist, so why should we expect today's apple growers to be expert cider makers?  They need to learn the formal qualities of the craft just like everyone else (which is a full-time endeavour in itself,) and just like with art, only a few people are natural talented for it.  You can't write that into a business plan.

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